Iohannis: Fight for liberty today is to voice opinion, be connected to what is going on, go out to vote

The fight for liberty nowadays means to voice one's opinions, be preoccupied with the current events and participate in voting, on Monday night said President Iohannis at "The 80east (eighties) space - Home in communism" inauguration event, but also that should the values of democracy not be protected, "ghosts" from "the darkness of not very old days" could rise.

"The Revolution's key word - if we were to put it in one word - is the cry "Liberty!" We did not take to the streets at the Revolution to ask for money, or bread, or cars, or TV sets. We took to the streets to ask for liberty and get rid of communism. This is what happened and we became free. (...) Nowadays, if one asks the Romanians in general what it is that they wish, almost no one says "liberty" because we have it. And usually - and this a rather sad conclusion - what one has one takes for granted and one has the impression that it is something they deserve, that they don't have to fight for. Sadly, this is not true. For democracy, for liberty, for our rights, for the freedom of speech we have to fight every day. Or else, from the darkness of not very old days, ghosts could rise. And sometimes I have the impression that currently some ghosts are attempting to creep out from the corners, precisely because we find certain things so normal, we take them for granted that we do not ascribe them a high value - as we should," the president asserted.

In his speech to the high-schoolers, participants in the project that aims to be an interactive laboratory of civic education about the communist past, the president underlined the risks entailed by the fight for liberty during the communist period, but also that this fight "has become much simpler" today than it used to be before 1989.

"During communist times, if one dared to fight for something, other than the official politics, one risked, worst-case, to get to jail or even be murdered - as, unfortunately was the case of many martyrs, in the 50s - 60s in particular -, or to lose their job, as many did in communism or to get to be rejected by the system, as again many were confronted with back then. To fight today means to voice one's opinion, be interested, be connected to what is going on in the country and go to vote. It is that simple. And, surprisingly, as simple as it might seem, many do not get it that this is liberty: to speak up, to participate, to vote. This is what the civil society actually wants to support: the participation of the people in the life of the society in an active - not annoying way, in a creative - and not inhibitory way," he added.

The president asserted that the Romanians "have not processed, have not digested" what happened in the communist period.

"It is a discussion that takes place in an ever smaller context, there are people who fight for the Romanian people's memory and I find it excellent that you, through this laboratory, participate in this fight by which we want to regain our own history," he said.

Iohannis highlighted that the communist regime was "horrible, brutal, draconian" wherein people felt "oppressed, humiliated, offended, restricted, freedom-deprived". According to him, communism was "probably the darkest age in Romania's history", and the horrors of that period must be told precisely so as to never get to repeat such mistakes.AGERPRES(RO - author: Irinela Visan, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Maria Voican, editor: Simona Iacob)

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